Natural Homemade Mascara


Photo by Michele of Frugal Granola

Post written by contributing writer, Michele Augur.

After using activated charcoal as a natural pimple remedy (moisten your face, and dab a little as a “mask” onto the spot; leave on for 15-20 min, then wash off), I realized that it could also work as a natural, inexpensive mascara option!

I have purchased the Aloe Vera Gel from Mountain Rose Herbs, and use the activated charcoal from NaturoKits. I have also found activated charcoal at natural herb stores in bulk.
.Photo by Michele of Frugal Granola

Natural Homemade Mascara

  • 1/8 tsp. Activated Charcoal (about 1/2 capsule)
  • 1/8 tsp. Aloe Vera Gel

Mix together aloe and charcoal. (I use a small baby spoon, since I’m not using them for baby food!) Then, dip in a clean mascara brush wand, pressing it against the inside of the bowl to coat it evenly onto the wand, smoothing out any clumps. Apply to eyelashes as usual. Wait a few seconds before blinking, to let the mascara dry, so that it doesn’t get on your cheeks.

I was able to remove the majority of mascara with a warm washcloth, just like typical mascara. (I haven’t usually purchased “waterproof” mascara, anyway.) The mascara has stayed on well, even when I got teary-eyed during a worship service, but I haven’t tried wearing outside in a downpour yet!

I haven’t tried storing this mixture, as it tends to dry out fairly quickly, and I don’t use makeup everyday. (However, experiment, and see what works for you! It might be feasible to store a little bit in a small airtight jar or makeup “pot.”) I was not able to successfully stuff it into an old mascara container, since this mixture is very thick and does not pour.

About Michele

Michele and her husband Calvin live a simple & sustainable life in rural Washington with their two- going on three- (busy!) little ones at Hampton Creek Inn. She takes joy in the daily ministry of delving into creativity, traditional homemaking & hospitality, homeschooling in everyday moments, and smooching her husband in the woods. Michele loves encouraging women and equipping them for frugal, natural living through her blog, Frugal Granola.

87 Responses to Natural Homemade Mascara

  1. megan December 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    i saved a lot of money with this site

  2. Carolyn October 25, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    Thanks for this! I have been making a lot of home made make up and soaps recently and I am so glad I found your blog. I love it! x

  3. Hannah October 3, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    I’m doing this for a school project me and 2 other friends ! Do you have any thing about blush?

  4. Sara Myers August 21, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    I wonder if you mixed it in an oral syringe (like for giving dogs or babies liquid medicine) with the cap on and the plunger removed, then you might be able to insert the plunger and squirt it into a mascara tube for easy storage in a container that’s designed to not let it dry out. It’s just a thought. I haven’t tried it, but I’m going to as soon as I figure out where I can buy the ingredients near me.

    • Sara Myers August 21, 2012 at 10:12 am #

      I was thinking you could use a skewer or even the mascara wand for mixing inside the syringe tube.

      • Marie November 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

        You could also just make an ounce or so and pipe it in using a piping bag, or a plastic bag with a tiny bit of the corner cut off for easy re-fill of the mascara container.

        • megan December 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

          i saved a lot of money for my movie with this help!

  5. Kimberly July 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    Hmmm I posted a recipe for mascara but it seems not to have gotten posted for some reason?
    Let’s try again. Here is a good starting point. How to make natural mascara!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s7Hd1KP1K0

  6. Shannie February 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    P.P.S

    I use the same recipe without beeswax for a nice liquid eyeliner

    A colorant like this that is pre-dispersed in oil will be easier to mix in: http://www.tkbtrading.com/item.php?item_id=239

    And I use a small syringe to get all my products into containers

    Hmmm… Yes that’s all I can think of, hope you enjoyed my 3-comment novel and happy natural-make-up-ing! :D

  7. Shannie February 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    P.S.

    My mascara recipe is vegetable glycerin as a base, beeswax to thicken (as needed), mica to color (as needed), and vitamin E to preserve (1-2 drops per tube). I have also added coconut oil sometimes to moisturize and fragrance :)

    • Anita May 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

      Shannie,
      I’m interested in your mascara recipe. Can you share the “How To’s” step by step? Also, how long have you found it to keep?

  8. Shannie February 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    http://www.tkbtrading.com/item.php?item_id=627

    Here you can buy clean new mascara tubes for $1.25

    On the same website, you can also buy oils, preservatives, and micas to color your new mascara. I particularly like the blackstar line. Their $1.50 sample size is 1 tablespoon, plenty for a mascara.

    http://www.tkbtrading.com/item.php?item_id=23

    They also sell all kinds of other natural makeup ingredients, that’s what got me into the hobby!

  9. Kimberly January 20, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    I have tried this one. Unfortunately it does not work well as a mascara. It looks good in the bowl but barely coats the lashes and does nothing but smudge. I found it to be a waste of my product and two mascara tubes. There is one good natural mascara recipe I have found but it stays wet too long. I am working on perfecting it but so far not so good. I am going to add cellulose to it to see if it gets thicker. I tried this recipe with oxide and with activated charcoal both with the aloe gel, neither worked out good as a mascara. Now it does make a good eyeliner so do use the same exact recipe with oxide for a nice natural eyeliner and add a drop of rosemary extract to keep the bugs out.

    • kathy July 23, 2012 at 5:16 am #

      What kind of oxide? My husband works in a chemical plant and says oxide is extremely dangerous.

  10. Bridget January 9, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    I’ve been trying to figure out what was in mascara, and a healthier way to make it. The sight I found had so many chemicals I never heard of, and I am so thankful that you posted this easy way to make my own at home. Maybe playing around with some other ingredients will make it just right for anyone’s needs. . . . like adding fiber (metamucil or benefiber) for lengthening, adding a safe glue (elmer’s?) to make it last long, and maybe even mineral makeup to make various colors

    As far as storage . . . I would think making a batch and putting it in a 1cc or 3cc syringe and cap it off. Maybe it would keep it’s consistency longer.

    Thanks again,
    I love it!!

  11. prescott m. November 30, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    i’m going to make some for my girlfriend for xmas woo hoo!!

  12. FBW October 12, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    I made some really great eyeliner today using a receipe I found on UTube. It used a an almond you burn to create charcoal and then grinded it to make a powder. But my boyfriend looked up the ingredience of a burnt almond and found almonds have a bit of arsnic so I don’t think I will be using it. Dose anyone know an alternative to the almond and if I use activated charcoal, how safe is it for use around the eyes?

  13. nicklepickle August 31, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    I wonder if adding coconut oil and a small amount of beeswax to the recipe would help in moister and in application. Plus the beeswax might help keep the charcoal from ‘running’ if you cry or run in the rain…just a thought.

  14. Andrea (I Love Natural Skin Care) July 30, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve not used mascara for at least a year now after reading about all the nasty chemicals.

    This is definitely something I am going to try and share with my friends! ;) So excited! Come on gorgeous lashes!!

  15. Victoria April 20, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    I have used oil instead of aloe vera, but it smudges off easier than the gel. the gel lets it dry on the lashes i guess. go out and buy one of those clear mascaras that is in a clear tube and clean it out, then pipe the new mascara into the tube with a tiny coffee straw taped to the cut corner of a plastic bag. I haven’t actually done that last part, I just imagine that’s how you’d do it. You can keep oil-based mascara in a little cosmetic pot, but I’d add vitamin E if you want it to keep a long time.

    • Katharyne January 21, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

      If you want to put it in a cleaned out mascara tube it may be easier and less messy to first put it in a 1cc/ml or 3cc syringe (no needle) and then squirt it into the tube. Or just keep it in the syringe (with a cap) and squeeze some onto a clean lash brush when you are ready to apply. It stays fresh in the airtight syringe.

  16. Cynthia March 27, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    I came across this while looking for information on homemade chap stick … and just love your site! Absolutely love it! thank you!

  17. Hannah March 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    Many commercial mascaras have fibers in them that adhere to lashes to make them appear longer. Does anyone have any suggestions on a natural fiber that could be used with this recipe to replicate this effect?

    Thanks for this recipe- so sick of irritated, red eyes!

  18. Aimee February 16, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    The reason the mixture is drying out is b/c of the aloe vera gel. The gel is mostly water, mixed with the charcaol you are creating a paste. An oil (olive, jojoba or coconut) in place of the Aloe will act a a binder and keep the product from drying. The oils will also soften and condition the lashes and allow for less breakage. It will also dry to a shinier finish and be less likely to crumble or run- since the oil will repel water if you get teary. I’m a working makeup artist and an esthetician, and I like working with all natural products as much as possible. I do find though for my purposes (photography, weddings etc) I prefer more long lasting formulas. I myself have used a smear of ilive oil to condition my lashes and lips at bedtime and love it. You can also create a paste from light brown sugar and olive oil as a lip scrub- and in larger batches for your body. The sugar is a natural lactic acid and safe natural exfoliant!

  19. ashley February 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    totally awesome! my beauty regime;) calls for acv, baking soda and coconut oil. mascara and concealer are the two things that have me stumped, as they are the only make up i wear when i wear make up. thanks for this post, i’ll give it a shot. if anyone finds a way to store it, i’d love to know, think i’ll experiment with some jojoba and coconut oil as Amy above mentioned, since they are two of my staples ingredients i keep around the house.

  20. wendi February 7, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    I assume you use an old wand for this and clean it??? I couldn’t find any with just a wand. How would you clean it?
    Thanks!

  21. Karolyn January 13, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    wow what amazing advice, I have been diagnosed with many severe cosmetic (and other)allergies 6months ago and was giving up hope of ever being able to wear makeup again, although I consider myself a non vain person a bit of a pick me up is often good for confidence. I have searched the internet ever since to find an apropriate subsitute and this seems great. I am however a little nieve to these products though, does it have to be active charcoal? can it be the normal everyday artist charcoal? whats the difference?

  22. Rachel December 14, 2010 at 6:33 am #

    Regarding storage of mascara back in an old mascara tube; having worked cosmetics for years, I highly recommend NOT trying this. One of the reasons one should never share mascara and why there are very specific practices used for sampling mascara is because the mascara tube can become a breeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria gets into the tube when the wand is replaced in the tube AFTER applying the mascara. That’s why make up artists will use disposible wands and replace between trips to the tube. If they don’t, they should. This is also one of the reasons it’s recommended to replensh your mascara every month if used every day. One way to avoid this is to use an old cleaned/disinfected wand to apply (leave the orig in to keep the tube sealed properly) and clean between uses. You can use a small spatula or the clean wand to swipe a portion of the mascara out of the tub onto a clean surface and apply from there. This isn’t necessary if you don’t use it every day or you if you use enough to replenish every month, but I still recommend 3 months for best replenishment for the product performance.

  23. Amy December 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    Has anyone tried oil-based. I’m trying a coconut oil and jojoba oil base for the mascara. Jojoba has a long shelf life and will help keep things sanitary. Coconut oil is somewhat solid at room temperature too. The charcoal idea is ingenious!

  24. Robin November 9, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    This is a great idea!! Do you think this would work for eye liner too?

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola November 9, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

      It probably would! You could likely just moisten the activated charcoal with a bit of water, and use an eyeliner applicator sponge-thingy (ok, I know nothing about makeup), :) and not use the aloe vera gel. It would probably work for that “smoky-eye shadow” look too.

      Let us know how it turns out!
      Blessings,
      Michele

  25. charis November 8, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    my question is: does it save $$$? i love making your homemade deodorant recipe (have shared it with several others as well) because it works, is natural, and saves the cash. how does this one add up?

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola November 9, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

      I guess it depends on how much you usually spend on mascara. :) The “natural” ones I’ve seen are quite expensive! I keep aloe and activated charcoal on hand for natural first aid remedies anyway, and use very small amounts to make a batch of mascara, so it certainly seems to be a savings for me.

      A bottle of aloe + a jar of activated charcoal cost me around $10, and that would make “TONS” of mascara! :) I’ve seen tubes of commercial mascara for that price, so it’s certainly cheaper to make.

      Hope that helps!
      Blessings,
      Michele

      • charis November 10, 2010 at 9:54 am #

        thanks! i will have to try it out!

  26. jamie November 6, 2010 at 4:51 am #

    THRILLED at the prospect of wearing mascara again! Thank you!
    Jamie

  27. Katie @ Riddlelove November 5, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    Perfect! I was actually just about to research this. Thanks for doing all the work for me. :)

  28. RJ Slider November 5, 2010 at 10:00 am #

    Thanks for sharing…. you inspire me to be/do better by nature and god.

  29. Ruth November 5, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    That is amazing!!!

  30. Cassy November 5, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    This is amazing! I just read an article the other day in Wired about what is in mascara (http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/11/st_whatsinside_lashes/) and I thought that I should try to find a more natural alternative and voila!

  31. Jen November 2, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    Interesting idea. I’ve never thought about making my own. I want to hear more about how people like it before i try. I like your site!

  32. Wanderer November 1, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    This is great! I can’t wait to try it. What if you added a little colloidal silver to stop the growth of any funk that tries to grow in it?

    • Becky November 3, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

      I was thinking the exact thing, but then wondered how it could affect the eye it some was to get in.

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola November 5, 2010 at 8:21 am #

      That might work! :) Mostly, I’ve found that the activated charcoal is so absorbent, that it just dries out when I try to store it. It might be best to just make small, fresh batches- that’s what I do, anyway.

      Blessings,
      Michele

  33. Cynthia November 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    You can actually let the mascara dry up, and use a wet mascara wand to moisten it for individual applications! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola November 7, 2010 at 7:28 am #

      The activated charcoal gets really powdery when it dries; it doesn’t seem to stay in the “gel” form. But that might work. Thanks!

      Michele :)

  34. Kelly November 1, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    Awesomeness! A must try! Thanks!

  35. Katie November 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    This is a great idea! I do have to say though, as a woman who wears a lot of mascara (everyday!) I worry about hygiene. Eye infections are notoriously caused by old mascara because of bacteria build up. This happens even with preservatives and anti bacterial/anti fungal agents added to conventional mascara. I think if anyone were to make a ‘large’ batch, it should be stored in the fridge to prevent the growth of bacteria and the brush should be cleaned often. Just a thought!

    • Lea November 4, 2010 at 8:53 am #

      My thoughts exactly, you have to be very careful about bacterial growth especially around the eye.

  36. Jen November 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    Just wondering, is activated charcoal safe for use around the eyes? What if it gets in your eye? (Not that getting regular mascara in your eye feels good either). I don’t know much about it and was just curious if you knew.

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola November 5, 2010 at 8:25 am #

      From what I’ve read, the dry activated charcoal could cause abrasions in the eye, if it gets rubbed in. But if the charcoal is moistened, it is less of a concern, I think- I’ve heard that some people actually use “dissolved” activated charcoal as a pink eye remedy!

      Just like commercial mascara, please make sure to avoid your eyes. :)

      Blessings,
      Michele

  37. Alisa Cooks November 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    Wow, what an amazing invention Michele! I have had trouble finding a good natural mascara, and really don’t wear it often, so this might work for me!

  38. Emily November 1, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    How interesting! I’ve been wondering if I could make my own mascara but hadn’t gotten around to looking around online. Thanks for bringing the information to me (via my feed reader)!

  39. Brandy November 1, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    What??? Oh my word … I think you’re my hero! :-D

  40. kitchenrecovery November 1, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    nuh-uh. Brilliant. I can’t go without my mascara!

  41. Stacy @ Delighting in the Days November 1, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    Wow! I’m a make it from scratch maniac but I have never thought of making my own mascara! Cool! Thanks for sharing.

  42. Miriam November 1, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    Just curious— I’ve heard that using activated charcoal on the skin can cause semi-permanent staining. Is that true, and would using it on the face possibly leave stains?

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola November 5, 2010 at 8:26 am #

      I haven’t had any staining problems (and I have very pale skin!). I only leave the pimple remedy on for 15-20 min, just before I hop in the shower, and then I scrub it off. Perhaps leaving it on for a longer time frame would have that effect, though?

      Blessings,
      Michele

    • Julie November 5, 2010 at 9:36 pm #

      The “tattooing” effect of charcoal on the skin are only when it’s applied to broken or open skin. There should be no staining if the skin is intact.

  43. Lois November 1, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    What a wonderful idea!! I love that it can be made as needed. Like you, I don’t wear makeup very often and mascara shouldn’t be used after it has been open for more than 6 months. That means that I usually don’t get very much use out of a tube before it needs to be thrown out. Thanks for sharing this!

  44. Lori Jones November 1, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    i was refered to your blog when looking for a bread recipie and decided to follow it. This is a very neat idea. i am going to have to give it a go.

  45. sharon November 1, 2010 at 6:03 am #

    I’m intrigued about how activated charcoal can dry up pimples. Is it effective against other skin conditions? Such as boils, follicule infection? Thanks!

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola November 5, 2010 at 8:28 am #

      Yes, activated charcoal can be a very effective remedy against infections! Check with your health care provider to see whether an oral or topical application would be best for your condition, as it can be used both ways. :)

      Blessings,
      Michele

  46. Dee Ann November 1, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    This is great! Thank you so much for posting this! I’ll have to try it as soon as I can get the ingredients.

  47. trina November 1, 2010 at 4:30 am #

    Oh, this is so cool! I have to try this! I use Aveda, but when my last bottle of mascara ran out, I haven’t wanted to spend the money to replace it. I commend you for your creative thinking ‘outside the box’ and then sharing it with us! I can hardly wait to tell my friends I made my own mascara!!!
    I don’t have any aloe vera gel in the house – what else do you think would work? Why did you choose aloe vera?

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola November 5, 2010 at 8:30 am #

      I actually had a bottle of aloe vera gel just sitting there on my bathroom counter. :) A “gel-like” consistency seemed appropriate for making mascara. But do some brainstorming- maybe something else would work, too! :)

      Blessings,
      Michele

  48. Joy Y. November 1, 2010 at 4:15 am #

    The only “make-up” I wear now is mascara…..one of only 2 things I put on my body that I haven’t figured out a natural option for. This is something I’ll have to try! Thanks for the great idea, Michelle. Hopefully no more cover girl for me…hee,hee!

    Warmly,

    Joy

    • Simone November 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

      Another great alternative is Jane Iredale mascara. All natural and safe ingredients and works just like you’d expect a more expensive brand to work. Lasts a long time too.

  49. [email protected] November 1, 2010 at 3:22 am #

    Fantastic! I’m going to try this. Thanks!

    Jackie

  50. Kelly November 1, 2010 at 2:29 am #

    You could try putting it into a mascara container using a zip lock bag, cutting the tip off, and squeezing it in, just like piping frosting!

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola November 5, 2010 at 8:31 am #

      Great idea! However, I’ve found that the activated charcoal is so absorbent, it just dries up. I haven’t found a solution for that yet. :)

      Blessings,
      Michele

      • natalie March 15, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

        Have you not tried the addition of oil yet? I’m pretty sure that would work. Since oil paints take so much longer to dry than acrylic, it should be the same for mascara.

        Thanks so much for this recipe. I wear mascara everyday and after reading an article about how dangerous the ingredients in makeup are, I have decided to completely make my own.

        Thanks again! :)

      • Laura August 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

        Hey, I’m working on making a couple mascaras for a possible up coming line, most of which are based on aloe vera too. But it’s different because I will be having more ingredients such as beeswax (I would also like to add carnuba, and candelilla), grapeseed oil, a little glycerine, honey, olive oil, and even shea butter. If you want me to tell you more about it when I finish it, please let me know.